Having a child with Down Syndrome is a struggle in itself, considering that most who ail with the addition of an extra chromosome have everything from developmental and learning issues to various health problems. Oneboy in Buenos Aires with Down Syndrome, according to his mother, does not like physical contact, but she found another way for her son to connect: a golden Labrador named Himalaya.
Himalaya is a mother herself, so it’s no wonder she’s so good with being gentle and allowing the boy, named Hernán, to push on her snout and pull on her neck. Even just these small instances of physical contact are probably big milestones for the boy, as in the beginning of the video, he settles for just pulling his leg away instead of physically moving the dog’s paw.
As the video progresses, Hernán remains calm while Himalaya continues to snuggle up next to him, reach out with her paw, and nibble gently on his leg. The grown dog is so affectionately persistent with the boy who normally avoids contact that I can’t help but tear up a little.
My fiancé’s family takes care of an older man with Down Syndrome named Roger who joined their family back in the 1990s. Roger goes to work every day at a supervised workshop where he hangs out with his friends and socializes. When it comes to animals, I can see how Roger treats them like one of the family, giving them simple orders that he’s picked up from the other family members, and he also plays with them, laughing uncontrollably.
The fact that dogs are such simple creatures who don’t discriminate and are often used as therapy animals is exemplified in this touching video. I’m not sure if this dog belongs to the family or they just met her while out at the park one day. Either way, it looks like little Hernán is already starting to open up to this animal, and he could benefit from a canine friendship.
Do you or someone you know have a child with Down Syndrome? Have you seen the work of therapy dogs? Tell us your experience below.